As we watch the global stage, a stonking development is unfolding in Russia. The Wagner Group, a private army of mercenaries that has been fighting alongside the regular Russian army in Ukraine, is rebelling. Its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has called for a rebellion and the group, with an estimated strength of 25,000 soldiers, is moving north across Russia, towards Moscow.
This shift of the Wagner Group, whose strength once peaked at 50,000 troops, is not insignificant. Especially when compared to the estimated 800,000 active soldiers in the Russian army, which once boasted over a million soldiers but has suffered at least 220,000 casualties during the war. Adding to this, Russia has an additional 250,000 service members in reserve.
This stonking twist of events has put Moscow on high alert. The mayor has asked people to restrict their movements around the capital. Life, albeit heavy with a security presence, continues with roadblocks set up to check vehicles and some bridges closed. The city’s authorities are also preparing for a “counter-terrorist operation regime”, restricting movements of people and transport, monitoring or restricting communications, and preparing to evacuate the population if needed.
The Wagner Group’s progression towards the capital is not just a domestic issue. This uprising diverts and distracts Russia from the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Wagner Group was one of only two major, effective fighting forces on the Russian side. Its withdrawal from the battlefield is likely to deplete Russian forces in Ukraine, creating a significant shift in the dynamic of the conflict.
The rebellion has seen the Wagner mercenary group seizing control of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia and moving further north. Reports suggest the group controls key sites in Voronezh and has been spotted in the Lipetsk region. This stonking advancement has put regions bordering Moscow on alert, with travel being restricted.
Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, has criticized the war in Ukraine, calling it a “disgrace”. But not for the reasons you might think. Prigozhin has criticised the Russian military for not fighting well enough and for its unwillingness to use tactical nuclear weapons. His view represents the radical pro-war group in Russia who demand more drastic action to defeat Ukraine.
As this story unfolds, we will continue to bring you the latest updates on the Wagner Group’s rebellion and its potential global implications. Stay tuned to understand how this private army could redefine Russia’s military landscape.